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Americas

US commemorates 11th anniversary of 9/11 attacks

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-09-11

Americans marked the 11th anniversary of the worst terror attack in US history on Tuesday with hundreds gathering at the World Trade Centre site in New York, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, to read the names of nearly 3,000 victims.

Americans marked the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on a crisp, sunny autumn day much like the one 11 years ago when nearly 3,000 victims were killed in the worst terror attack in U.S. history.

The commemoration was more subdued than in previous years, a reflection of a nation moving on after a decade of remembrance.

Hundreds gathered at the World Trade Center site in New York, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, to read the names of those killed.

“Our country is safer, and our people are resilient,” President Barack Obama said in a ceremony on the White House’s south lawn. He and first lady Michelle Obama laid a white floral wreath at the Pentagon, above a concrete slab that said “Sept. 11, 2001 - 937 am.”

They later visited the graves of recent war dead from Afghanistan and Iraq at Arlington National Cemetery. The U.S. military death toll from the wars launched after the attacks years ago surpassed the 9/11 victim count.

Some felt that last year’s 10th anniversary was an emotional turning point for public mourning. For the first time, elected officials weren’t speaking at the New York ceremony.

“I feel much more relaxed this year, said Jane Pollicino, who came to the ceremony in memory of her husband, who was killed at the trade center. “It’s another anniversary that we can commemorate in a calmer way, without that 10-year pressure.”

Thousands had attended the ceremony in New York in previous years, including last year’s milestone 10th anniversary. This time, the crowd reached about 1,000 by late morning.

Vice President Joe Biden was attending a memorial service in Pennsylvania, where one of the hijacked airliners crashed in the fields of Shanksville.

It’s believed the plane was heading for Washington D.C, but crashed in the field after passengers over-powered the hijackers.

“No matter how many anniversaries ... the terror of that moment returns,” Biden said.

The US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta spoke at the memorial site at the Pentagon, saying that the attacks failed to weaken America and instead inspired a generation to take up arms.

"For today we also recall that out of the shock and sadness of 9/11 came a new sense of unity and resolve, that this would not happen again," Panetta told families of those who died in the Pentagon attack.

"It inspired a fierce determination to fight back and protect our way of life."

The Pentagon chief, who as CIA director presided over the successful raid last year that killed Osama bin Laden, said the United States relentlessly pursued the Al-Qaeda leader.

"We never gave up the search for bin Laden. We successfully brought him to justice," he said.

The terror attacks were followed by wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. At least 1,987 U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan and 4,475 in Iraq, according to the Pentagon.

France 24 with wires

Date created : 2012-09-11

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